A Curious Beekeeper gets a nuc

Later this afternoon, a nuc will be delivered.

I ordered it through my local club. Last year everyone who had ordered picked them up at my place. Not this year though. I’ve handed that responsibility off.

I wish I could turn the clock back to relive the excitement and wonder of my first nuc. Brand new to beekeeping, Diane had one and I had one, in a pasture on somebody’s farm.

I rolled my Queen, that first year. The fellow we bought the nucs from was nice enough to drive to a Micky D’s close to me, with a new Queen.

This year’s queen started life as a cell from Florida. The name of the Producer is in my notes. Last year’s was good.

I get on the club order to see what my students are working with.

Now I’ve gotten the state form in today’s mail reminding me that I need to register my hives by June 15th. The form was largely pre-filled. Also in the envelope was a “Save the Date” reminder that EAS will be held in Maine next year at The University of Maine in Orono. (Aug. 3 – 7)

My registration fee for the year is $12, unchanged from last year. I fall into the 11-40 hive band. The registration fee will no doubt he higher next year. I did not attend the public hearing although I did send the state some thoughts by e-mail.

I got some packages back in April, and as far as I know they are all doing well. I say as far as I know as the weather has not been good for beekeeping this spring. As of today, we have no Dandelions. The temperature is in the mid-40s, maybe we’ll make it into the 50s this afternoon.

When I went to bed last night, the weather forecast called for a couple of nice days, the temperature reaching 60F. Something changed. We postponed our bee school working with bees event scheduled for today. It was just too cold to work bees. And it was sleeting here, at least first thing this morning.

Today’s writing is not intended as a trip down Memory Lane, but instead as a desired recollection of the eagerness and anticipation experienced by new beekeepers. Once upon a time getting a nuc was an adventure. I did get a new bee book this week (The Secrets of Bees by Michael Weiler and translated from the German by David Heath) The nuc will go in a Lyson polystyrene hive. I certainly wasn’t using those when I started, nor was I adding a foundationless frame to each box.

I braved the cold wind this morning to spend some time in the bee yard. For some reason the branches pruned from the Apple trees were still there, as were the package boxes installed in April. They are not there anymore!

I should go back down to the bee yard before the nuc arrives. There are holes to be dug for eight Inkberry plants to go along with the few that made it through the winter. The plants arrived last week and need to go in the ground very soon. I’m trying to grow my own wind break, while providing something for the bees to eat at the same time.

The electric fence needs some work too. I’ve escaped Bruins so far this spring – I hope my luck continues. Last year was no fun.

Maybe we’ll soon get to 60F! There are samples to collect for BIP, honey supers to add, colonies started from packages that should soon need another box as part of their brood chamber… and bees to watch, mite samples to take, and…

But not today. Today I need to trim the brambles from around the hive stand, place the hive, and then place the nuc. I’ll let the bees fly from their nuc box today and put them in their new home tomorrow.

The club had us order bees this year in January, well before winter losses were known. They told the nuc provider a year ago that the club needed to be on the list for this year. Let’s see, the club got a 50% deposit when I placed the order. So, I need to find the check book. Then I can go out to the garage and double check that everything is ready.

Maybe I have time to put the hive in place. (I painted it months ago)

And then I wait.

Andrew Dewey